The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
Character Analysis: Nick Carraway • 29-30 Yale Grad • Cousins with Daisy and Tom • Narrator of the story • Comes of age (loss of innocence) • Moral compass of the novel • Conflicted both about Daisy and Gatsby and Tom and Myrtle • Unable to decide whether or not Gatsby is to be trusted • Gatsby creates him as a father figure to replace his own. • Relationship with Jordan Baker harmed by her supremely feminist ways.
Character Analysis: Jay Gatsby • Originally known as James Gatz • From North Dakota • Taken in by Dan Cody, a wealthy tycoon from whom Gatsby inherited his wealth • Fell in love with Daisy Buchannan shortly before leaving to fight in WWI • Moved to West Egg in order to see her across the bay • Relentlessly lives in the past and ultimately gives up his life for Daisy hoping that she will love him again. • Don Draper esque
Character Analysis: Daisy Buchannan • Femme fatal • Yearns to be an independent woman, suitable for her intelligence but is stuck in her domestic life. • “I’m glad it’s a girl, and I hope she’ll be a fool– that’s the best that a a girl can be in this world– a beautiful fool.” (17). • Ironically, she decides to stay with Tom after the vehicular homicide of Myrtle Wilson. • Reader asks whether or not she truly loves Gatsby or if she is playing him to get what she ultimately wants (The death of Myrtle Wilson).
Character Analysis: Tom Buchanan • Devoted husband of Daisy Buchannan • Has an open affair with Myrtle Wilson • Breaks Myrtle’s nose when she mention’s Daisy’s name • Conniving, quick to anger • Quick to leave Nick and Gatsby when the going gets tough • Isolates himself from Daisy when he finds out about her affair • Symbolizes the double standard between male and female adultery.
Character Analysis: Jordan Baker • Golf pro • Independent, stands up to men • Career tanked after she was caught in a cheating scandal (possibly result of living in male dominated society). • Nick’s love interest throughout the novel • Finally breaks up with Nick after he is unable to rise above his morality to help Daisy and Tom in their predicament. • Partially the reason Nick “hates” Gatsby
Character Analysis: Myrtle Wilson • Pleasantly plump mistress of Tom Buchannan • Symbol for the blunt of domesticity’s rage • Beaten by both her husband and lover • Death at the hands of Daisy Buchanan symbolizes the inescapability of domesticity.
Minor Characters • George Wilson-the husband of Myrtle Wilson. He ultimately kills Gatsby, blaming him for his wife’s death • Meyer Wolfsheim- Gatsby’s friend who famously rigged the 1919 world series. He causes Nick’s first uncertainties about Gatsby • Catherine-Myrtle’s sister who accepts Tom and Myrtle’s affair later condemns Tom after her sister’s death • Owl Eyes- a drunken partygoer who attends Gatsby’s funeral • Dan Cody- Gatsby’s provider • Henry C. Gatz-Gatsby’s estranged father • Dr. T. J. Eckleburg- a pair of eyes on a billboard seen throughout Long Island • Pammy Buchannan-Daisy and Tom’s daughter
Plot Summary: Eggs Cracked • Nick Carraway, a recent Yale graduate returns home to West Egg to start a career • Neighbors to the mysterious Jay Gatsby • Invited to the home of his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan on East Egg. • Meets Jordan Baker, the golf pro who Daisy wants him to date • Nick notices that Daisy is unhappy in her marriage, desperate to escape domesticity • Tom gets a call from a mysterious woman, his mistress Myrtle Wilson
Plot Synopsis: Dichotomy of Domesticity • Tom takes Nick to Queens to meet Myrtle • The relationship is permitted by Tom and Myrtle’s friends because both were “vastly unhappy in their marriages.” • Myrtle mocks Daisy and Tom beats her to Nick’s horror • Weeks later, Nick and Jordan attend a Gatsby party, shocked that few of the guests actually know him and gossip that he is an Anti-Semite, and a murderer. • Nick meets Gatsby who asks him to lunch the next day
Plot Synopsis: The “Great” Gatsby At lunch with Gatsby and Jordan the next day, Nick learns that Gatsby attended Oxford University and that his family is “all dead now.” Meets Meyor Wolfsham, who with Gatsby’s help, fixed the world series in 1919. On the car ride back to West Egg, Nick notices that Gatsby’s hand is shaking and that his “whole statement had fallen to pieces.” Gatsby reveals that Daisy Buchannan was the only woman he had ever loved and that they had a relationship five years prior to when he joined the war.
Plot Synopsis: “Red Light, Green Light” • Gatsby built his house to be closer to Daisy and to watch her from afar • The Green light at the end of the dock symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes that they will one day still be able to be together • Daisy and Gatsby reunite and their relationship begins once again • Daisy and Tom attend one of Gatsby’s parties and Daisy becomes overwhelmed with emotion • The party moves to the Buchannan’s house but Daisy declares that they should move to a hotel to escape the heat. • Much to Tom’s dismay, Daisy rides in Gatsby’s yellow car with him, while Tom is forced to drive Nick and Jordan. • On the way into town, Tom meets with Tom Wilson who has locked Myrtle in the house because of her continued affair.
Plot Summary: Summer Heat and Heated Tempers • The party moves to the Plaza Hotel where Tom confronts Daisy about her relationship with Gatsby. • Gatsby brings Daisy to an ultimatum: she must choose to be with Tom or himself. • Daisy is unable to make a decision and runs away with Gatsby. • Furious, on the way home, Daisy seizes control of the car from Gatsby and hits Myrtle Wilson who instantly dies. • Back at the Buchanan’s home, Tom and Daisy flee Long Island unable to face responsibility for their actions
Plot Summary: The Great Gatsby’s Last Illusion • Determined to avenge his wife’s death, George Wilson sneaks into Gatsby’s backyard and murders both himself and Gatsby. • Nick (now separated from Jordan) notifies Gatsby’s father of his son’s death. • Gatsby refused to meet with father because he wanted to get rid of his past. • Few present at the funeral (Owl Eyes) • Nick reflects upon his experiences with Gatsby and realizes albeit loathingly, the truth of his character.